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After the Moon

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Album Review

World music is one of those musical terms that is somewhat nebulous yet very useful and convenient. An umbrella term that has been applied to a wide variety of ethnic forms, world music could be anyone from the Chieftains to Ravi Shankar to the late Astor Piazzolla. In some cases, an artist might have different ethnic influences without sticking to any particular genre — and Nana Simopoulos is that type of artist. On After the Moon, the singer/instrumentalist brings Greek/Mediterranean, Indian, and Middle Eastern influences to the table. She plays the bouzouki without being a traditional Greek artist, and she plays the sitar without being a traditional Indian artist. So for the sake of convenience, it makes sense to describe this multicultural CD as world music or world fusion. Favoring a hauntingly tranquil approach, Simopoulos finds the parallels between different types of modal music — she realizes that Greek, Indian, and Middle Eastern/Arabic music are all part of the modal family, and she has no problem combining them and bringing her different influences together. Of course, there are purist hardliners who would object to the way she uses traditional acoustic instruments in non-traditional ways. In Greece, some might object to hearing the bouzouki outside of a rembetika setting, and in the northern part of India, some would argue that the sitar should be reserved for traditional Indian music — that it has no place in either Indian pop or the type of world fusion that Simopoulos gets into on After the Moon. But thankfully, she doesn't allow purists to keep her from doing something expansive and risk-taking. Like other Simopoulos CDs, After the Moon is a good example of how interesting things can be when one turns to different cultures for inspiration.


Genre: World

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Baltimore native Nana Simopoulos got her start in the music world early, learning to play the piano at the age of five. Unsatisfied with the instrument, she announced to her parents that she was moving on to the guitar, and started learning classical guitar. She moved to Greece soon after, and started getting into contemporary bands and artists. Her exposure to this music inspired her to play in rock and folk groups as well as keep up with her classical guitar studies. Once she turned 19, it...
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After the Moon, Nana Simopoulos
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